Shakespeare, 43, took a lump-sum payment of $16.9 million instead of annual installments and bought a Nissan Altima, a Rolex from a pawn shop, and a $1 million home in a gated community. He insisted that the money "would not change" him, but it seemed to quickly cause him problems.
He was accused of stealing the winning ticket from a co-worker, and people were always asking him for money. Then he was approached by Dorice Donegan Moore about writing his life story. She bought Shakespeare's home for $655,00 last January and he disappeared in April.
While Moore insists that Shakespeare is "laying low" because people are trying to get his money, no one has seen the lottery wiiner since.
Shakespeare isn't the first lottery winner to get more problems than he bargained for. William "Bud" Post won $16.2 million in the Pennsylvania lottery in 1988 but now lives on his social security. A former girlfriend sued him for a share of his earnings and his brother hired a hit man to kill him. Post even spent time in jail for firing a gun over the head of a bill collector. Within a year, he was $1 million in debt. Other lottery winners:
- Willie Hurt of Lansing, Mich., won $3.1 million in 1989. Two years later he was broke and charged with murder. His lawyer says Hurt spent his fortune on a divorce and crack cocaine.
- Charles Riddle of Belleville, Mich., won $1 million in 1975. Afterward, he got divorced, faced several lawsuits and was indicted for selling cocaine.
- Missourian Janite Lee won $18 million in 1993. Lee was generous to a variety of causes, giving to politics, education and the community. But according to published reports, eight years after winning, Lee had filed for bankruptcy with only $700 left in two bank accounts and no cash on hand.
His mother is hoping that he is just relaxing on the beach somewhere but officials fear the worst.
It is said "if money can solve your problems, you don't have problems." But what if money is what caused the problems?
Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.